E3 ’14 [The Bible Scale, Pt. I]: ‘Zero’ing in on The Future of video games.
Rather than belt the congregation with 300,000 articles of game news from the demos we played at E3 this year, we decided to take a different approach: The Bible Scale. This feature allows your trusty Monsignor to break down and rank every AAA video game on the convention floor — with more on Sony and Nintendo coming soon, courtesy of our Saint Superkick — which should help extract the hype from the bite.
So let’s enjoy the show, shall we?
0 N/A BIBLES
What a tease. These were games announced at the press conference not readily available for closed-room demo or the showroom floor; rather, they were mentioned solely for the hype train of Holiday 2015 to 2016– and beyond. While I happen to have some extra insight on a few (see more this coming Wednesday on the Shooting Star Press), you can expect a little more info to be dished out at both San Diego Comic-Con in July and Germany’s Gamescom in August.
-Halo 5: Guardians (EA/343)
-Mass Effect 4 (EA/Bioware)
-Mirror’s Edge 2 (EA/Criterion)
-NBA 2K15 (2K/Visual Concepts)
-No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)
-Rise of the Tomb Raider (Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics)
-Star Wars: Battlefront (EA/DICE)
-Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Sony/Naughty Dog)
-WWE 2K15 (2K/Visual Concepts)
1 DECREPIT BIBLE
-Murdered: Soul Suspect (Square Enix/Airtight) – Nothing like celebrating a “ghost dud” at The Convention. I’m always embarrassed for the studios that decide to bring games that are already released to E3, especially if they are considered critical flops. From a business standpoint — which is basically all this Expo is anyway — it’s not a bad move. You might catch a few people who are sick and tired of waiting in line to play a wildly popular AAA game (such as Evolve), only to get creamed in 3-minutes on multiplayer and discover the schwag t-shirt is 3x too large. I’m sure a couple dweebs walked away from Murdered: Soul Suspect with an intent to buy…used. Please, let’s go and check their pulse.
2 TOASTED BIBLES
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (WB/Monolith) – Because one of the WB games has to flop. As impressive as Ubisoft is every year, WB appeared to be the more “fan-friendly” publisher for 2014. With huge IPs (Arkham, Mortal Kombat), and free t-shirts for every viewable or even playable demo (Gauntlet!), I wouldn’t argue with anyone who claims those folks over in Burbank as winners of the conference. Thing is, remember Mad Max? Despite the fact our own Cardinal wildly chose Max in this year’s PrE3view piece, WB briskly took that IP off this year’s slate. And out of their eight games, this one appears the likeliest bust. Why? Because it’s Lord of the Rings — to which none of their games have ever been good — without all of the characters we hold so dearly in our hearts. Because the engine resembles too much Assassin’s Creed and Darksiders II. Because I don’t care about the Nemesis system ala the identities of the “Orc Community”. Because the strategy behind it looks borrrrrrrrring. Don’t wait till 2015; do yourself a favor and buy a used copy of The LEGO Hobbit.
Alien: Isolation (SEGA/Creative Assembly) – This score might appear unjustified for one particular reason: I didn’t have the balls to try it on the new VR Oculus Rift. Or, more apropos, your Monsignor tried to cover as many cool games as I could in the time allotted (E3 needs to be longer!). Regardless, hands were had on the new “Challenge” mode (which wasn’t worth the wait of the broken demo) and a creepy 25-minute video of gameplay was viewed. I nearly fell asleep as I watched Ripley’s daughter creep around a lab with nothing but a motion tracker — that “isn’t very accurate,” according to the host in the room — just to trigger a pair of generators. Then again, I suppose the subtlety of it all is exactly what makes it so frightening. And it can’t be any worse than Colonial Marines, can it?
Killer Instinct: Season 2 (Microsoft/Iron Galaxy) – Hard to call a game that “came” with a console a bust, but I’m willing to bet more people were sticking to their DLC packs of Injustice: Gods Among Us than the atrocity this fabulous looking — and playing — fighter calls a season. Firstly, the rebooted KI offered no form of story mode. No matter how much actual fun the game is to play, the replay-ability is easily lost if there’s no sense of adventure behind it. Then, Double Helix, which was then acquired by Amazon, was replaced by Iron Galaxy (Cannibal Ox, anyone?). So, the demo on the floor allowed players to uppercut their way as cybernetically-enhanced boxer a.k.a. Terminator Balrog, TJ Combo. Fun, but why call it a season? It’s just more DLC that’s going to cost you money– for a game you’ll likely put down after a week. We’ll see.
Dying Light (WB/Techland) – Although I missed on playing D.L.‘s demo last year, I went into this E3 season excited for this frantic first person zombie action/adventure. Then it got delayed. Then other things piqued my interest. Thankfully enough, your Moody pal was able to appreciate (game developer) Techland’s progression system despite its eerie resemblance their last franchise, Dead Island. And, there’s Dead Island 2 floating around the floor somewhere — I’m guessing the Sony booth — but that over-the-top demo from Yager isn’t exactly earning the best reviews. Dying Light is still very much on many players’ radars, despite the delay; and the more you run, jump and climb, the stronger your character gets. More experience, more XP, more moves to your arsenal (head sliding). Throw in 100 different weapons (flaming knifes, tornado axes, etc.), and your character just may end up like Batman. Hopefully the balance of strength upgrades and tool customizing with the mutated nighttime difficulty is what will separate this flesh-eater from the other 50 on the market.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (2K/Gearbox) – Simply stated on our future E3 Wrap-Up Podcast 2014: “Why is this game being released on last-gen?” It’s a simple answer from the crew over at Gearbox: They wanted to maximize the engine they have rather than make a cheap port. And while statistics say there are far greater number of Xbox 360’s and PS3’s in homes than Xbox One’s and PS4’s, does that necessarily mean the hardcore game is still playing them? To give 2K Australia credit, I haven’t ditched my dusty 360 because of this one particular game. And yet although the devilish end-boss from Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack, is actually on your side (in a supporting role) and the entire game takes place on the Moon (lower oxygen = higher challenge, but lower-gravity = higher jumps = more loot!!), “The Pre-Sequel” smells of DLC or “filler” before next-gen. Still, I love the fracking franchise enough to play anything in relation. Unfortunately, as I did step over to the playable demo — to which there was absolutely no line at the Microsoft section, mind you — the booth dude was too busy texting away to guide me through any significant changes made between the one of the best games of 2012 and this. Hopefully, it’ll be captivating enough to “butt stomp” a few meaningless mobile notifications a couple hours a day.
E3 ’14 [The Bible Scale, Part Deux] will hit the Holy Gaming Masses tomorrow morning.